Rodney KingRodney King was a motorist who, while videotaped by a by-stander, was beaten by Los Angeles police officers (LAPD) during an arrest on March 3, 1991. King was kicked and hit 56 times with police batons and electrically shocked using Taser guns. In addition to the three officers personally involved, 24 other other law enforcement officers watched the beating. 
The three officers and the sergeant said to be in charge of them were were indicted on March 15 for "assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury and a deadly weapon" and with assault "under color of authority", and two were charged with filing false police reports (The police reports were filed before the officers were aware the incident had been videotaped). They successfully filed for a change of venue application away from Los Angeles County where the incident occurred to suburban Ventura County, whose population is more affluent and contains a much smaller proportion of African-Americans. On April 29, the officers were acquitted by a jury of 10 whites, a Hispanic and an Asian, in a verdict that shocked much of the country. The President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, made a rare statement on a trial, saying that the verdict "has left us all with a deep sense of personal frustration and anguish." The verdict triggered massive rioting in Los Angeles which left hundreds of buildings severely damaged or destroyed and dozens dead. Smaller riots occurred in other U.S. cities. During the riot King pleaded with the rioters, saying on national television; "Can we all just get along?"
On May 1, as the riots continued, President Bush announced that he would most likely charge the officers with violating King's civil rights. This was a common practice in the 1960s when all-white juries routinely acquitted people charged with racially-motivated crimes. King testified in this trial on March 9, 1993. Then on August 4, a federal judge sentenced LAPD officers Stacey Koon and Laurence Powell to 30 months in prison for violating King's civil rights. The other officers were not convicted and there was no rioting.
Since the 1991 incident, Rodney King has been arrested several times for drug infractions, violence, and motoring offenses.